River Christmas tree

Waldoboro’s river float Christmas tree. Photo by Rebecca Waddell

Residents were surprised by a new town Christmas tree which mysteriously appeared in the Medomak River off the Pine Street public landing. It is fabulous to have something unique to Waldoboro — just like Rockland and its lobster trap tree, maybe Waldoboro can make its river float tree into a yearly tradition. It is on the town float between the landing and Storer Lumber and is visible to anyone crossing the bridge downtown.

While it was a very nice surprise this year, it would be wonderful if it could grow into even more with perhaps some caroling or a visit from Santa at the landing. Years ago, the fire department helped put lights on a tree at the corner of Jefferson and Main Streets, back when the corner building was a bank. Santa would come on his fire truck and people would enjoy hot cocoa and caroling. Pastor Tom Rawley led songs there at least one holiday season, but the big old tree became too dry and unsafe to light. The fire department still escorts Santa to that spot so children can make their wishes and receive some treats the week before Christmas, and the Waldoborough Historical Society helped usher in the season with their open house, but the community caroling would be fun to bring back.

Efforts were made to have the tree lighting and some other activities, such as horse-drawn carriage rides and caroling, in front of the town office, but there were logistical challenges with that as well. There were a couple of years that the event at the town office went well with the Miller School PTO having a bake sale, the Waldo Theatre providing popcorn, Richard Kinney playing piano while some of the talented youth from the theatre programs sang while encouraging the public to join. A moose made a special appearance, but one can’t plan on that happening again!

This river tree is unique and a brilliant idea. If it becomes a yearly event, it could jumpstart some new traditions downtown, or restore some of the old ones with the shops open for special evening hours on the night of the tree lighting. It would be a great way to honor the town’s 250th anniversary in 2023 by bringing a bit more year-round vitality to downtown.

Think of the possibilities. Given that it gets dark pretty early, and event could start at around 4 p.m. and Santa could make a visit. It would be a good opportunity for a bake sale, some warm drinks, and some caroling. Waldoboro’s hills can make a bit of a challenge for those walking around town, but some people could certainly walk from the landing and carol their way over to the businesses on Friendship Road for some shopping, maybe dinner and some treats.

The Waldo Theatre could have a family-friendly event at 6 p.m. and perhaps collect food or toys for the holidays. Broad Bay Church could open its doors with its creche display. This year the theatre has a gorgeous tree outside, which would also be a fabulous place for some more caroling. It wouldn’t be as complicated to plan as Waldoboro Day, but it would take some volunteers and cooperation from downtown institutions.

Donations collected

In addition to the Christmas tree magic the Town of Waldoboro pulled off, it also collected toys for 122 local children, as well as boots and coats for the families who requested them. On Dec. 22, Christmas food baskets will be distributed at the town office from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.